Trinamool rides on star power to win Bengal LS, Assembly seats 

For the first time, TMC has won Asansol LS seat that was a BJP bastion; Babul Supriyo retains Ballygunge for the party but with diminished victory margin

Published: 17th April 2022 10:44 AM  |   Last Updated: 17th April 2022 10:44 AM   |  A+A-

KOLKATA: Riding on the star power of Shatrughan Sinha and Babul Supriyo, the ruling Trinamool Congress in West Bengal steamrolled its way to victory in two bypolls. While Sinha wrested the Asansol Lok Sabha seat from the BJP, Supriyo managed to retain the party bastion of Ballygunge Assembly constituency. 

Sinha outsmarted BJP’s Agnimitra Paul by a massive margin of 3,52,053 votes. The TMC had fielded the ‘Bihari Babu’ with an aim to make a dent in the BJP’s non-Bengali vote-bank in Asansol that constitutes more than 40 per cent of the total voters in the constituency. The party’s game plan succeeded as this is the first time the TMC has bagged the seat that had remained a BJP citadel so far.

Babul Supriyo had won the Asansol seat on a BJP ticket in 2019 and 2014 Lok Sabha elections. However, he resigned from the Lok Sabha as well as the party after being denied a ministry berth and later joined the TMC.

Supriyo was fielded from Ballygunge as the seat was vacated after the death of TMC veteran Subrata Mukherjee. He defeated CPM’s Saira Shah Halim by 20,228 votes. While Supriyo won comfortably, the TMC’s victory margin this time was much lesser than its performance in the 2021 Assembly elections when Mukherjee had won by over 70,000 votes.

The BJP’s candidate in Ballygunge, Keya Ghosh, not just stood third but even lost her deposit. A candidate has to secure one-sixth of the total votes polled to save his or her deposit.

Sinha’s victory is expected to give him a new lease of life in politics as the former BJP MP and Union minister has been in political wilderness since he lost the Patna Sahib seat in 2019 Lok Sabha elections. In him, the TMC has gained a prominent face and powerful voice in the Lower House of Parliament.
Supriyo, on the other hand, is likely to be inducted in the state cabinet after having been a Union minister earlier. 

Another highlight of the bypolls in Bengal was CPM’s rebound in Ballygunge. The party increased its vote share to 30 per cent from 5.6 per cent in 2021. The party had earlier improves its performance in the recent by-elections to four Assembly constituencies and Kolkata civic elections, too.

Interestingly, the TMC trailed in two minority- dominated pockets in the Ballygunge constituency, which had been its strongholds since the change of guard in the state in 2011. The CPM secured leads from these two wards, in one of which former chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya resides. The Congress stood fourth in both Asansol and Ballygunge.

Terming the victory in Asansol and Ballygunge as a gift of Nababarsho (Bengali New Year), Mamata tweeted, “We consider this to be our people’s warm Subho Nababarsho gift to our Ma-Mati-Manush organisation. Salute to the voters for reposing faith is us, yet again. “


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